T Nation

Punching Power


I've heard boxers and boxing trainers say "Punchers are born". Now is this absolutely true or is there a case where the man's background truly developed his punching power (Raised on farm, did manual labor as a child)

And is the size of a fighter's hands a factor in his punching power?


Yes. Titties matter. Wait wut?


I'm in the school of people that think that it's born into you. You can make somebody a stronger puncher to a small degree, but you'll never turn a Paulie Malignaggi into a Chico Corrales no matter how hard you try.

Doing manual labor doesn't make you a good puncher, either. It will certainly build up a good amount of strength, but again, it won't turn a feather fisted fighter into a banger. Some guys just never can turn their whole body into it.

Some folks think so, but I don't.


^seriously though most distracting avatar ever.

Anyway it's like everything else. Some of it is genetic (more than we'd like to admit) but whatever you don't have genetically can be enhanced by training. Some guys become knockout artists on just their ability to time people what not (it doesn't take THAT much force to knock someone out). Other guys just have brutal punishing power & use that. There's a ton of factors. But some guys just "get" the mechanics of punching more. Some guys no matter what they do look awkward punching (mark coleman, to me at least). Other guys it's so fluid, it's like sneezing to them- just an innate reflex. I think the guys that have the innate reflex tend to find punching power comes easier to them


Or what Irish said.

(smart motherfucker that irish)


Here's another question:

Who is the most prolific...I'll rephrase that. Who is the most badass or fighter ever who has abysmal punching power?

And yes, Lisa Ann distracts the hell out of me too.


I agree with what xen said, now that im not distracted by tits. I don't get why this question comes up so much either. Was Tiger Woods a born golfer? Was Micheal Phelps a born swimmer? Was anyone who is a top athlete a born, "Whatever?" They obviously had enourmous genetic potential, but I mean, you still have to teach them shitm and they still had to put in hours of work.

I doubt someone who has the right genetic qualities is out there knocking people out left and right without ever having practiced much. The whole mystique of it is kind of lame. Just like someone can be naturally talented at bodybuilding, someone who doesn't have those traits me have a set of genes that is good at something else, like sprinting or punching people. And in either case you still have to learn about training to maximise your gains.

Also it's hard to tell what exactly the features are that create a "natural" puncher, since there are knockout artists of all body types. Maybe a reflex like Xen said, or maybe something predatory in them. shrugs I've also seen big ass dudes knock people out with fucking arm punches, so simple physics certainly comes into play as well.


I'd agree with that.

I'd also agree that the best punchers are usually born with certain traits that make them excel, and then learn how to utilize those traits through technique. Guys like Marciano, Foreman and Tyson were all naturally very powerful and had big hands.

That's different than saying that punching power can't be improved though. Proper technique and resistance training will help you maximize the potential you do have, even if you'll never be the next Jack Dempsey.


I know Ali gets mentioned alot in these sort of discussions. Strong guy, amazing fighter, not a knockout artist. But abysmal? Well I wouldn't want to get punched by him.


But there are born fighters. There's guys that have never boxed in their lives who throw hard, straight punches and will KO you with one shot. There's people who have never had anyone teach them shit, but they can hit like freight trains.

People don't come out of the womb golfing, but they have been fighting since the dawn of humanity.

So you're comparing apples and oranges.


Yea, he admitted that he was not a KO artist, but he had enough power to knock George Foreman stupid.

You're going to have a hard time finding a heavyweight that doesn't have KO power... the argument could be made that at lightweight and below, there are badass boxers without much power.


i think there's really too many factors involved in a knockout to really quantify what "punching power" is. especially if defined just by the knockout. You can be long and lanky like hitman hearns or anderson silva. or you can be short and stocky like tyson or zambidis. It all comes down to your ability to use your athletic attributes to their maximum.

There are guys who punch hard with shit technique (chris leben arguably) vs guys who have perfect timing, excellent form, but arguably don't punch "hard" (anderson silva). Then you see guys get knocked out by what looks like jabs (diaz v lawler, kimbo v petruzelli).

You could argue that it's purely technique...


prince naseem?


Excellent point. Obviously a large part of it then is just pure physics, or maybe absolute strength. That would be REALLY interesting. Are the knockout artists in the lighter divisions the guys that are naturally stronger as well.


It'd be an interesting thing doing a survey about punching and kicking power where people fight from a young age in a roughly similar environment.. Thailand?


I know what you mean about natural fighters, since I've been head-butting and punching people since I was little, and I've read alot of your posts so I know you've seen more shit than I have therefore I will keep an open mind, but cold clocking a scrub on the street is alot different than two professionals going at it.

That person getting layed out may or may not know what the fuck he's doing and may even have a glass jaw. He's not peaking for a fight so he may just be having a shitty day. There are alot of factors and I don't think that a natural fighter, despite being able to hit harder than average, starts off with all the power he will ever have, or even close to it.

Also to clarify when i asked the questions about phelps and woods, the answers could have gone either way, i wasn't trying to say they weren't born to perform their sport. Being a born anything implies you have the genetic potential.

Some people take to swimming naturally and others struggle with it their whole lives, I've seen it. But the ones who take to it naturally have to practice to be the best.


That would be cool to see.

Thing is though, that like Xen is saying, just because you can hit a non moving/non resisting/not punching back bag really hard doesn't mean that you'll necessarily be a gifted KO artist. You've got to be able to land that strike accurately at the right time for it to be effective, and honestly you don't have to be Mike Tyson to KO most people if you land/time it right.


if it's about the physics then prince naseem was all the acceleration part



Kicking is a different matter all together... that'd be REALLY interesting to gather data on.

Thai boxers often occupy ourselves with kicking harder by shin conditioning and other stuff. The question is if it works for kicking then why not punching? Back to TMA style makiwara stuff for knockout power? I dunno. A lot of variables


It is commonly believed that the One inch punch skill comes only from the Wing Chun system of kung fu, however, it is present in many styles of Southern Chinese martial arts. As a general rule, Southern Chinese martial arts rely mostly on hand techniques from very close quarters (as opposed to Northern Chinese martial arts which focus more on kicking techniques from medium to long distances).

Because the Southern styles martial artists were often fighting nose-to-nose with their opponents, they had to learn a way to deal out punishing blows even while almost touching their target.

The one inch punch is a skill which uses fa jin (translated as explosive power) to generate tremendous amounts of impact force at extremely close distances (though this force can never meet or exceed that of a normal full punch).

When performing this one inch punch the practitioner stands with his fist very close to the target (the distance depends on the skill of the practitioner, usually from 0-6 inches). Then in one explosive burst, the legs root, the waist turns, the ribs expand and the arm extends through the target.

It is crucial that the entire body move in unison, or else the power will be limited. The target in such demonstrations vary, sometimes it is a fellow practitioner holding a phone book on the chest, sometimes wooden boards can be broken.

The one inch punch was made popular in the west when demonstrated by Bruce Lee at Long Beach International Karate Championships in 1964. Bruce Lee learned the technique from his Wing Chun training in Hong Kong. He used the art of Wing Chun as his basis of the art he founded, Jeet Kune Do.

In the television show Mythbusters, the technique was tested quantitatively using a force gauge. For comparison, it was matched against a conventional punch thrown with a full wind-up by Jamie Hyneman.

The conventional punch measured 325 pounds while the One inch punch measured 153 pounds. In the absence of a safe method of testing against a human being, the hosts deemed it "plausible" as a combat technique, if the user had proper training and experience.